Recommended Reading – Wintering by Katherine May

This book was longlisted for the Wainwright Prize in 2020. A number of friends and colleagues recommended this as an appropriate read for our times. It is described as ‘a poignant comforting meditation on the fallow periods of life, times when we must retreat to care for and repair ourselves.’

As somebody with Positivity in my Clifton Strengths Themes my default position is to see the sliver lining in every situation and push through the ‘fallow periods’ as efficiently as possible. This book really helped me to see the benefits of acknowledging and accepting wintering as an essential aspect of life. It links so well to our Acceptance theme in our Resilience Model which shines a spotlight on how we can address our overriding need for approval AND to be in control – by focusing on acceptance and letting go and tuning into our core values and needs.  These times are a rather brutal lesson in acceptance and letting go of everything outside our control. In this book Katherine May shows us how to come through these times with the wisdom of knowing that, like the seasons, our winters and summers ebb and flow.

My favourite quote in the book

“… if happiness is a skill, then sadness is too. Perhaps through all those years at school, or perhaps through other terrors, we are taught to ignore it, stuff it down into our satchels and pretend it isn’t there. As adults, we often have to learn to hear the clarity of its call. That is wintering. It is active acceptance of sadness. It is the practice of allowing ourselves to feel it as a need. It is the courage to stare down the worst parts of our experience, and to commit to healing them the best we can. Wintering is a moment of intuition, our true needs felt keenly as a knife.”

It is a thought provoking read.

By Sara Penter, CDS Head of Coaching.

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